U.S. slaps sanctions on Russian, Chinese entities for supporting North Korea

Earlier this month, tensions between the US and North Korea ratcheted up after President Donald Trump warned he would respond to threats with "fire and fury". Some believe his tactics may push North Korean leader Kim Jong-un too far, but now, he has turned his attention elsewhere.

The 10 companies and six individuals targeted by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control are alleged to have conducted business with North Korea in violation of United Nations' sanctions aimed at denying Pyongyang outside funding for its weapons programs.

China has strongly and consistently opposed the US's unilateral, so-called secondary sanctions against Chinese companies and nationals. The Treasury Department alleges that the sanctions entities and individuals aided people who were already sanctioned over Pyongyang's weapons program.

In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed new sanctions on several Chinese and Russian entities and individuals accused of supporting the communist country.

After his allegedly successful meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Largo, President Trump has tweeted repeatedly about how he needs China to help put pressure on North Korea. Washington seeks to cut them off from the US financial system, which is especially important because most global transactions are conducted in USA dollars. For UN sanctions to work, China and Russian Federation must follow through on their commitments to crack down on corporations that flout the embargo.

It is the second time in less than two months that Washington has slapped so-called secondary sanctions on third-country entities and individuals suspected of aiding Pyongyang's weapons program.

Though U.S. military officials and President Trump have said the United States is prepared to take some sort of military action against North Korea if provoked, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has pointedly called for Pyongyang to negotiate and said repeatedly that the United States does not seek regime change.

The Treasury Department applied new sanctions Tuesday meant to squeeze North Korea even tighter. Also of note: The US went after two companies that help North Korea with an unusual but lucrative business: building statues overseas. In February, North Korean coal imports by China were suspended.

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